Season's Readings: March 2015

As regular readers will know, I am a big reader; I never go anywhere without my Kindle and am constantly on the hunt for new books and authors. With that in mind, I thought I'd start a new series on the blog of what I've been reading this month. I will be adding books depending on which month I finish them and will also be keeping track of how many I've read against my Goodreads target of 50 books for the year.

It's been a bit of a TV-based reading month this March - there are a ridiculous amount of TV and film adaptations of various books coming out soon so I'm trying to read as much as I can in order to get ahead of those (is it just me who hates reading a book after I've seen the screen version?). So without further ado, here's what I've read this month...
Season's Readings: March 2015
The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
I wrote about Shannon's first novel, The Bone Season, in a previous favourites post and had been waiting with eager anticipation for the sequel. We open after Paige Mahoney has escaped the clairvoyant penal colony Sheol I, getting herself on the most wanted list in the process, and in this novel she gets drawn into shady goings-on in the London mime-crime underworld. Whilst I loved the world-building and the characters, and that it took a step back from the burgeoning love story to focus on Paige's development as a person, I wasn't so keen on the plot; it felt very predictable and like the ending was very telegraphed even early on, although the twist at the end isn't necessarily the one you'd expect (though it does become increasingly obvious). Plus it felt like it was a bit rushed - it all seems to tail off towards the end and there are some quite clunky passages that made me wonder if it needed more time for development. However, the ambiguous ending suggests Shannon might be getting some breathing space so I'll stick with it when the next book comes out.

Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
A TV-inspired choice ahead of the new version (on that subject, can I just say that Aidan Turner: WOULD). The first of a series of 12 novels, Ross Poldark is the story of the eponymous Ross, who returns from fighting in the American Revolutionary Wars to find that his father has died, his family mine is losing money and his fiancee Elizabeth is now engaged to his cousin Francis. When he meets spunky peasant girl Demelza Carne at a fair, things take an interesting turn.

This is the second time I've read this book - the first was on holiday in Cornwall last year, and whilst I thought that would detract from reading it this time, it didn't at all - if anything the vivid descriptions captured it brilliantly and gave me the yearning to go back! The book is incredibly well-written and the characters, particularly Demelza and Ross' servants Judd and Prudie, spring to life off the page. There's also a nice balance of humour, drama and more serious social observation. It's not a taxing book, but definitely one if you like well-written historical fiction with a dash of romance.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Another tie-in - this time ahead of the sequel, Insurgent, coming out at the pictures, I thought I'd refresh my memory of the series by re-reading Divergent. Set in a dystopian Chicago where people are divided into factions by personality, the series follows Tris Prior who finds she is divergent - meaning she has no dominant trait - and how she is drawn into a conflict between the factions and to the mysterious Four. Whilst it might seem a bit formulaic in terms of plot, I actually felt that Tris was a really well-rounded character and her emotions were captured brilliantly, plus it moved along at a great pace and ended on just the right note for a cliffhanger.

Arthur & George by Julian Barnes
Some more TV-related reading - this has just been adapted into a series starring Martin Clunes as Arthur Conan Doyle (yes, the one who created Sherlock Holmes). It tells the story of Doyle's investigation of a case in turn-of-the-century Staffordshire, where solicitor George Edalji was accused of what became known as the Great Wyrley Outrages. This was a bit of a strange one; whilst it's very well written, I always felt a little bit distant from both characters - although I suspect that's partly the point. But it's very enjoyable as well as making you think, and I came away with a little more knowledge about an often-forgotten bit of English history that's still very relevant to the modern day.

Demelza by Winston Graham
This is the second of the Poldark novels and opens with Ross and Demelza happily married and about to become parents. However, despite the best intentions, things rapidly take a turn for the worse, with relationships damaged and their love tested to its limits. Demelza is a much darker novel than Ross Poldark - the ending in particular is utterly heartbreaking, even if you can see it coming - and amps up the previous novel's themes of equality, fairness and justice with devastating consequences. I also really liked the shift in focus to Demelza; she's always been my favourite character and in this novel we get to delve much more into her psyche and the struggle between her desire to fit into society and to be the woman Ross wants her to be. Despite the subdued note it ends on, it's a brilliant read and I'm looking forward to the next in the series.

Total books read in March: 5
Total books read in 2015: 13/50

Let me know if you've enjoyed this post and would like to see more in this series, or if there are any books on here you'd like full reviews of - feedback is always appreciated!

Have you read any of these books? What have you read this month?

2 comments:

  1. I just finished The Bone Season so I'm really looking forward to The Mime Order but I'm on a book buying ban until I've read 20 that I already own. Given that I've only read 4 this year so far it might be quite some time before I get there! x

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    1. Wow, that's impressive! I normally only buy one or two books ahead if I'm going away somewhere without Wi-fi but even that seems a lot to get through sometimes. Good luck!

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